Lecture at the Nosmo Methodology day March  9 2007 University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands, Europe

Policy Making For Complex Societal Problems: The COMPRAM Methodology - Handling Local Natural Disasters as an Example: The Katrina disaster, New Orleans 2005

Dr. Dorien  J. DeTombe (MSc. Ph.D.)  ,International Research Society on Methodology of Societal Complexity ,P.O. Box. 3286, 1001 AB Amsterdam , The Netherlands , Europe ,Tel: +31 20 6927526 , E-Mail : DeTombe@nosmo.nl  www.geocities.com/doriendetombe

  The world is threatened by many different kinds of dangers. World wide natural threats caused by viruses like the flu pandemic, fowl plague and HIV/AIDS, local natural disasters such as hurricanes, avalanches and floods, technical dangers caused by industry like pollution (CO2), traffic, nuclear power plants, climate change and agricultural business, manmade threats like (world) wars, terrorism and stock exchange manipulation. These dangers threaten people, the economy and the stability of states. Handling these kinds of problems belongs to the field of methodology for societal complexity. The claim of this field is that complex societal problems should be handled in according to the approaches, methods and tools, in this field.

  In order to create a safer society one needs to know where the danger comes from and what causes the threat. Each threat has different causes and different effects on different elements in society. Each threat needs a different set of solutions. In order to cope with the different manifestation of danger one should look beyond the effects of the danger to find the cause. Therefore one has to carefully analyze the situation, make a distinction between causes and effects, to see what the elements are and how they are related, see which power groups are involved and to find out which package of sustainable changes can have the desired effects.

  To find out what we know about the problem, who is effected by it, which parties are involved, who benefits and who suffers, what emotions and political vulnerability are going on, one has to analyze the problem. This needs an interdisciplinary approach. An interdisciplinary group of knowledge experts should analyze the situation and discuss possible changes. Then stakeholders should discuss the issue and give their opinion on the situation. Together the experts and stakeholders should find some fruitful changes. the interventions should be carefully implemented and evaluated on their desired effect on the problem. Each complex societal problem has a knowledge, a power and an emotional element.

  Handling a natural disaster like a hurricane, a tsunami or an earthquake takes much preparation to prevent too much damage and takes a lot of coordination on the moment of the disaster and a huge support afterwards. This needs scenarios, worked out plans, but also training and coordination. In order to be prepared for disasters multidisciplinary groups of experts can discuss how science and updated technology and communication tools can support the prevention, the moment of and the support afterwards in a disaster. How to prevent unnecessary damages when disasters threatens us, how to coordinate the support, how to communicate during the disaster and how to create fruitful sustainable support afterwards is prescribed by the COMPRAM methodology. The COMPRAM methodology is a scientific developed methodology to handle societal complexity in a bird’s –eye view.

The lecture will introduce the framework methodology COMPRAM to analyze complex societal problems on the subject of a natural disaster as threat to local safety. The COMPRAM methodology (DeTombe) is especially developed to handle these kinds of complex interdisciplinary worldwide problems and offers a step-by-step approach of analyzing the problem and finding ways of sustainable intervention. The COMPRAM methodology offers a bird’s-eye view on the complexity of the problem.

 The COMPRAM methodology is advised by the OECD (July 2007) to handle complex societal issues.

  This lecture will be in accordance to the art work of Dutch photographer Diederik Meijer, who photographed the victims of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans USA September 2005. The photographs are published in 2007 in the Foam museum Amsterdam .


Dr. Dorien  DeTombe (MSc.Ph.D.)

Chair International Research Society on Methodology of Societal Complexity

P.O. Box. 3286, 1001 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe

Tel: +31 20 6927526

E-Mail: DeTombe@nosmo.nl ; http://www.geocities.com/doriendetombe




©Dorien J. DeTombe, All rights reserved, first announced February  2007